Dreams can be divided into three classes according to their relation towards the realization of desire. Firstly come those which exhibit a non-repressed, non-concealed desire; these are dreams of the infantile type, becoming ever rarer among adults. Secondly, dreams which express in veiled form some repressed desire; these constitute by far the larger number of our dreams, and they require analysis for their understanding. Thirdly, these dreams where repression exists, but without or with but slight concealment. These dreams are invariably accompanied by a feeling of dread which brings the dream to an end. This feeling of dread here replaces dream displacement; I regarded the dream work as having prevented this in the dream of the second class. It is not very difficult to prove that what is now present as intense dread in the dream was once desire, and is now secondary to the repression.
There are also definite dreams with a painful content, without the presence of any anxiety in the dream. These cannot be reckoned among dreams of dread; they have, however, always been used to prove the unimportance and the psychical futility of dreams. An analysis of such an example will show that it belongs to our second class of dreams—a perfectly concealed realization of repressed desires. Analysis will demonstrate at the same time how excellently adapted is the work of displacement to the concealment of desires.
A girl dreamt that she saw lying dead before her the only surviving child of her sister amid the same surroundings as a few years before she saw the first child lying dead. She was not sensible of any pain, but naturally combatted the view that the scene represented a desire of hers. Nor was that view necessary. Years ago it was at the funeral of the child that she had last seen and spoken to the man she loved. Were the second child to die, she would be sure to meet this man again in her sister’s house. She is longing to meet him, but struggles against this feeling. The day of the dream she had taken a ticket for a lecture, which announced the presence of the man she always loved. The dream is simply a dream of impatience common to those which happen before a journey, theater, or simply anticipated pleasures. The longing is concealed by the shifting of the scene to the occasion when any joyous feeling were out of place, and yet where it did once exist. Note, further, that the emotional behavior in the dream is adapted, not to the displaced, but to the real but suppressed dream ideas. The scene anticipates the long-hoped-for meeting; there is here no call for painful emotions.